Monguno, a garrison town in NorthEast Borno State that has been seized by Boko Haram Islamist is not claimed back and recaptured by Nigeria’s Military on Monday.
The insurgents suffered casualties and the military operation disrupted an attempt to re-supply fighters in the flashpoint town of Baga with weapons and food, a statement said.
“Troops in a military operation spearheaded by highly coordinated air assaults have completed the mission of clearing terrorists from Monguno and environs this morning,” defence spokesman Chris Olukolade said.
Boko Haram seized Monguno on January 25, taking hold of a military base and a cache of weapons, after overpowering troops based in the town.
Losing Monguno was seen as a tough blow for the military given its proximity to Borno’s capital Maiduguri, which Boko Haram has long eyed as a takeover target.
Fears that Boko Haram would use Monguno as a launching pad for an attack on Maiduguri were confirmed on February 1, when the Islamists stormed the state capital, before being repelled.
The military’s claims of successes over Boko Haram have often been inconsistent with witness accounts but if confirmed the recapture of Monguno would add to a growing list of army victories this month.
Nigeria’s election had been scheduled for February 14 but security officials cited raging violence as a justification for a six-week delay.
President Goodluck Jonathan has vowed that the elections will go ahead and a new, elected government sworn in on May 29, in keeping with the constitution.
The international community and Nigeria’s opposition have warned that any further postponement could spark a constitutional crisis and even unrest.